Know When To Run


magnes2_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Know When To Run
Synopsis Peter and Magnes confront one another about the people in their lives, and what it means to make a sacrifice.
Date November 26, 2009

El-Palenque, Argentina

El-Palenque after dark is a decidedly loud place, at least from the motel's proximity to the town's one active bar. Once the sun has set and the feverish heat of summer has given way to the cooler temperatures of night, it's the muted sounds of revelry at that seedy bar that keep Magnes Varlane company in his room. The accommodations afforded here in El-Palenque are hardly lavish, but at least there hasn't been signs of cockroaches yet, despite the wide assortment of multi-legged crawling abominations skulking in the jungles on the edges of town.

With it being but an hour after dark, and with most people in the company of Agent Ross seeming to want little to do with Magnes, it's expected to be a quiet and sedate evening indoors, on the eve before their hike up to the military base in the mountains where they'll be fully debriefed on their mission. But nothing, usually, ever goes to plan for Magnes.

The footsteps he's heard coming down the hall didn't pass by his door. Two dark shadows are cast under the door from the hallway, feet that have halted outside of his room. The three firm knocks that come next are met with an unexpected voice, "Magnes?"

A voice belonging to Peter Petrelli.

The voice is a surprise, since he certainly didn't expect to hear that voice knocking on his door. Magnes floats up from the bed, opens the door, then casually floats back with his legs crossed on the mattress, shoes off. He's wearing a white t-shirt and dark-green cargo pants still, just staring up at the door. "Peter Petrelli." he greets with clear indifference in his tone.

The door opens slowly, Peter slipping in briskly from the hall, but not really closing the door. "We're going for a walk." It isn't so much of a request as it is an order, much the way a pompous ass like himself might be expected to deliver. "Put your shoes on, it's a little ways outside of town." Which is exactly where they were told not to go.

In the threshold as he is, Magnes can see that black briefcase Peter was carrying at the meeting still handcuffed to his wrist. "Come on, Ross is busy in his room." There's the hint of a smile on Peter's lips when he says that, like someone trying to convince a younger brother to sneak out of the house while dad's distracted.

Magnes starts to slip his shoes on, speaking as he ties them up. "I'd say we should be careful, but I saw some of the stuff you can do in the comic." he notes, just to make sure Peter is aware that he's trusting him, then stands and starts following.

Dark brows furrow as Peter stares at Magnes for a moment, blue eyes narrowed before he gives a faint shake of his head. "I wouldn't count on that…" he admits quietly, turning back for the hall once Magnes is getting his shoes on. Waiting just outside of the room, Peter's quiet once he gets the younger man out and into the hall, briskly moving past Cardinal and Ross' rooms, downstairs to the lobby and then out onto the dusty street.

"You and I need to talk about some things, Magnes…" Peter notes once he's out of the building. The people of El-Palenque seem mildly used to the presence of the outsiders by now, and the thin military force that has situated itself in this town. "Because right now, I think you have a pretty screwed up perspective of the world, and a lot of us are under the notion that you're either going to get us or yourself killed here."

Once polished dress shoes carry Peter at a brisk pace down the road, leading Magnes towards the south end of town, briefcase carried at his side all the while. "I don't know what you got into in New York, but this isn't like that. This isn't like Humanis First, this isn't like anything that's gone on back there. This is— " he stops in his walk, looking aside to Magnes under the light of the half-moon overhead. "None of us are probably going to make it out of this alive."

"I'm gonna see Claire again. And I've been almost killed enough to know that this isn't a game, so I don't need that lecture. Whatever problem I have with you or anyone else is not going to get in the way of doing this job, and getting out of here with all our lives intact." Magnes says with all the confidence in the world, not being very pessimistic at the moment; that's the last thing he wants to be in such a dire situation. "And in case you were wondering, my problem with you has nothing to do with you exploding, I know that wasn't your fault." this part said in more of a whisper.

"No." Peter affirms, his voice hushed a bit more now. "See, this is exactly what I'm talking about, Magnes. You're sure you're going to see Claire again. This isn't about whatever you think you have against me, this isn't about what you've done or where you've been." Blue eyes narrow sharply. "This is a warzone against the army who followed a man to their own deaths. This is a government that is going to use us as expendable soldiers that they can deny ever existed."

Reaching up to rub a gloved hand over his face, Peter breathes out a sigh against the fabric. He's quiet for a moment, blue eyes settled on Magnes, then starts walking again. "Magnes… If the Vanguard doesn't kill us, if the nuclear warhead doesn't kill us, if the United States Government doesn't kill us, then we might wind up having to kill ourselves to make sure that this bomb doesn't go off."

His pace is slow as he walks, now passing beyond one of the aluminum-roofed residences with shuttered windows, moving beyond a split in a low chicken-wire fence through an open field. "You have to come to terms with the fact that we're not making it out of this alive, and if we somehow manage to— then count your blessings. This is probably a one-way trip for all of us, and that why I want to ask you…" Peter stops in the middle of the dirt field, looking back to Magnes.

"I want you to go home before anything happens to you."

"Peter, even if I believe we're not going to make it out of this alive, ths entire world is in danger. No matter what the government's intentions are, they sent me out here for a reason, they put this unit together for a reason. I'm not leaving and then have to live the rest of my life knowing I could have done something, that's worse than dying." Magnes stops and turns to face the man once they're out far enough, frowning and looking him directly in the eye. "But I have to believe I'll see Claire again, that's how I deal with these situations, that's what's kept me alive, believing I'll see the people I care about again. They're the reason I do anything, and they're the reason I'm willing to sacrifice myself. I do this for all my friends, Claire, Abby, Hiro, Kimiko, Delilah, Mister Panucci, everyone. I can't run on pessimism, I hope you can understand that, please?"

Out in the dirt field, Peter's silence is perhaps unneeded, but the tension that runs through him seems to be what keeps his voice from raising. The creak of one of his leather gloves comes as fingers wind tightly into a fist. "It's not you I'm worried about!" Finally his voice raises. "Claire. For whatever reasons she's— the two of you— " dark brows furrow, creasing the scar on Peter's face. "If you died in this mission and she makes it out of wherever she is, do you know what that'd do to her? She's lost so much in her life, had so much taken away from her. I don't care what leaving here would do to you, I care what you not leaving here would do to her!"

Peter's shoulders rise and fall slowly, his breathing hastened, lips pressed together in a thin line as he realizes he lost his temper. Blue eyes avert, his head tilts down, and a momentary look of shame crosses his face. "Besides, you're the only one I can trust to get Gillian out of here too…"

"Gillian's here?" Magnes asks at the end of all that, then raises a hand to massage his forehead. Something Peter said has deeply annoyed him. "You worry so much about Claire's feelings, but have you ever bothered trying to hammer it into her head that Midtown isn't her fault? You made it her responsibility to shoot you, and since she didn't, she blames herself. Every single day, and I can't do a thing about it. I'll take Gillian out of here, I know she doesn't need the weight of the world on her shoulders again, but I want you to remember that you put the weight of the world on my girlfriend and your niece's shoulders. If you get out of here alive, you're gonna fix it, I don't care how."

"That's ridiculous," says the man who has built a life around guilt, "she's just— " Peter's brows furrow in a look of consternation, eyes averting from Magnes. Then, like any Petrelli faced with the uncomfortable truth, he deflects. "My brother told me Gillian was sent out here, but I haven't seen her yet. I need you to get her out of here as soon as we find her, no matter what it takes. She's…" Peter closes his eyes and starts walking through the field again. "She deserves better than this, and I can't give that to her."

Quiet footfalls kick of dry dust from the packed dirt field as Peter leads Magnes across the empty lot towards the far edge of town. "We're not too far away now, what I wanted to show you… come on."

"Claire told me exactly how she feels, so there's no room for misinterpreting." Magnes is quick to point out, but allows Peter to deflect, nodding in agreement. "I know she deserves better, she almost broke down the last time I mentioned saving the world to her. She can't take this kind of thing again. But I'd need, like, some sort of map, or GPS, or something. I can fly to another country, but it doesn't mean I know how to get there." He continues following, watching the Exploding Man suspiciously. "What are you showing me? I hope it's not a body or something…"

Peter doesn't answer; not yet.

"So… you know Hiro?" Comes the rhetorical question from Peter, voice somber as he sidesteps Magnes' words. Moving out of the other side of the dirt pasture now, Peter begins bringing Magnes down a grassy slope towards a trickling stream running behind an old Catholic missionary on the edge of town. The building looks to have seen better days, missing much of its wooden siding, windows boarded up, it has been abandoned by the town's residents.

"We were supposed to save the world," he admits bitterly, "but you already read that, in the comics, didn't you?" More rhetoric, as Peter comes to a stop by the stream, looking down at the running water. "He even came back in time, told me that saving Claire would save the world. I can't believe this is what we saved it for…" Blue eyes fall shut, and Peter's shoulders rise and fall as he takes a step back, then sprints forward and jumps over the small stream to the other side.

"In there…" A nod of Peter's head indicates the old missionary as he turns a darkly clad shoulder to Magnes, and starts ascending the other side of the slope to the abandoned building.

Magnes 'leaps', which is quite unnaturally easy, but he's not about to fly when they could be watched, he keeps following, his heart beating a bit faster as they get closer. "A hero is always supposed to save the world. People say the world isn't like comics, but, in a comic, the world is only saved for that week. Peace is something people always have to work and sacrifice for. The only truly happy people in a comic are the people who don't have to deal with all this stuff. But Hiro understands, he works hard to keep the timelines stable."

He walks up a bit closer, walking right next to him now. "You might not believe this, but before I met Claire I only considered myself to be working for the next generation's peace, I'm someone who believes peace to be a twenty year off thing. But Gabriel told me the future, that it might only be ten years off, and apparently me and him are police partners or something."

"Gabriel?" Peter halts in his steps, looking over his shoulder to Magnes. There's a different tone to his voice, as if someone else is speaking. One side of his mouth rises into a smirk, his eyes fall shut, and there's a mirthful shake of his head. "He said that, did he?" The slow shake of Peter's head turns into a motion of him turning his back on Magnes and finishing his way up the hill. "He, of all people, should know the future isn't written in stone."

Trudging up the grassy slope, Peter leads Magnes to the front doors of the old abandoned missionary. He's quiet once he passes the white wood cross grave markers out front, each one looking weathered and ancient, long forgotten memories of people that had come and gone, not even so much as marked with names. Up the wooden steps, Peter's footfalls are made to sound hollow on the grayed wood planks.

"A long time ago…" Peter says in the same tone of voice from earlier, "this place was home to an honest to God hero." He pushes one side of the double doors open, and they're surprisingly unlocked. From the splintered wood laying around the doorway, it looks like someone already broke in earlier. "You need to see this, and hear this…" he adds, voice echoing once he reaches the unlit interior of the missionary's chapel, where thin beams of moonlight spill down through holes in the ceiling.

Magnes stares curiously down at the stain, trying to put that investigative studying to work as he tries to make out that it could be. "How'd he die?" he asks, voice lowering to a respectable volume.

"He was murdered." Peter delivers the words with a hint of remorse, looking down at that dark stain. "Right here, in the church he loved. He wasn't killed because of something he did wrong, he wasn't killed out of revenge, or hatred, or jealousy…" Blue eyes lift from the bloodstain towards Magnes. "He was killed because he was like us."

Then, with his eyes closed, Peter adds. "A good, young man was forced to kill him, to prove his loyalty to a terrible, evil man. These are the kind of people that still hide here, this is how the Vanguard was formed — with the blood of good people. Heroes."

"Why are you telling me this?" Magnes sounds as if he wants to know what Peter's getting at, tilting his head, then looks down at the stain again. "I've seen a lot of us die for a lot of reasons. I killed someone once, I'm still not over it. So, it's not like I don't appreciate you telling me, but… why?"

"Because if you stay here…" Peter's dark brows furrow, looking at the stain again, "you might have to make that same choice." Blue eyes lift up towards the younger man, watching him and his reaction intently. "You might be the only one who can make the choice, or maybe the only one willing. But sometimes, even heroes need to die in order to save lives. Could you knowingly, willingly take the life of someone who did not deserve to die, for the greater good?"

Peter turns, now, walking down the dusty chapel aisle towards Magnes. "You said you've killed before, and that you're not over it. That's good, that shows you're still human inside. But if you were asked to kill— " he waves a gloved hand in the air slowly, "any one of us. Kill Gillian, kill Agent Sawyer, kill Cardinal, kill me— " his blue eyes narrow. "Could you?"

Magnes doesn't answer right away, staring at that stain, it gives it a good long few minutes of thought. With a sigh, he shakes and raises his head, answering lowly, "No."

Peter's blue eyes focus on Magnes for a long moment, and the chapel's quiet creak of old wood is the only sound between the pair. "Then you need to leave with Gillian." Reaching inside of his jacket pocket, Peter produces a small black mobile device, resembling an elongated blackberry. "This is a SatCom device I picked up off of a dead Marine in Shanghai. It has a GPS system on it. Use it to navigate yourself to wherever it is you want to go, then destroy it so you can't be followed."

Peter's tone of voice is a quiet, reserved one. "Take her someplace far away, and don't ever tell me where she is, don't tell anyone. Get her out of this, out of everything. Wait for Claire, and don't look back afterwards. Know when to run, Magnes. None of us are going to come out of this alive…" There's a tension in Peter's neck as he swallows anxiously. "I won't have the blood of another kid on my hands."

"Alright…" Magnes isn't arguing anymore, reaching for the blackberry and looking it over to see if it's something he can operate. When he's confident, he looks back up, gaze suddenly somber. "Can I ask two things? How's Claire gonna find me, and, what's in that case?" He's been curious about that for a while.

One dark brow raises when Magnes accepts the offer, as if Peter wasn't quite expecting it. "When she's done with her mission, I know she will. If anyone is strong enough to survive, and if anyone won't be screwed over by my brother, it's Claire. He loves her too much." A look goes down to the case, brows furrowed as Peter exhales a sigh.

"The case isn't important…" That much is a bald-faced lie from the tone of his voice. "I don't know where Gillian is, but we have to find her and make sure she gets out of here. The government won't ever stop hunting the two of you down, not if you bail on them like this…" There's a shake of Peter's head, slowly, "But you're not cut out for this, you shouldn't ever have to be. If we save the world, Magnes…" Peter's eyes close as he turns his back to the young man, "I don't think the world will ever see us as heroes."

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